Polygenic scores associated with educational attainment in adults predict educational achievement and ADHD symptoms in children

Eveline L. de Zeeuw, Catharina E.M. van Beijsterveldt, Tina J. Glasner, M. Bartels, Erik A. Ehli, Gareth E. Davies, James J. Hudziak, Cornelius A. Rietveld, Maria M. Groen-Blokhuis, Jouke Jan Hottenga, Eco J.C. de Geus, Dorret I. Boomsma, Social Science Genetic Assotiation Consortium

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The American Psychiatric Association estimates that 3 to 7 per cent of all school aged children are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Even after correcting for general cognitive ability, numerous studies report a negative association between ADHD and educational achievement. With polygenic scores we examined whether genetic variants that have a positive influence on educational attainment have a protective effect against ADHD. The effect sizes from a large GWA meta-analysis of educational attainment in adults were used to calculate polygenic scores in an independent sample of 12-year-old children from the Netherlands Twin Register. Linear mixed models showed that the polygenic scores significantly predicted educational achievement, school performance, ADHD symptoms and attention problems in children. These results confirm the genetic overlap between ADHD and educational achievement, indicating that one way to gain insight into genetic variants responsible for variation in ADHD is to include data on educational achievement, which are available at a larger scale. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-520
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics. Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 21-Apr-2014


  • ADHD
  • Educational achievement
  • Genetics
  • Polygenic scores
  • School performance
  • academic achievement
  • achievement test
  • arithmetic
  • article
  • attention deficit disorder
  • attention disturbance
  • child
  • controlled study
  • educational status
  • effect size
  • gene frequency
  • gene linkage disequilibrium
  • genetic association
  • genetic variability
  • genotype
  • human
  • language
  • major clinical study
  • Netherlands
  • phenotype
  • priority journal
  • reading
  • single nucleotide polymorphism
  • study skills
  • symptom

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